Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday, Piper!

Yesterday was my precious pup's birthday.

Six years ago in the early fall of my senior year we traveled to a breeder out in east Texas to meet this little ball of fluff. She was spunky and eager to please. She was absolutely fascinated with the human hand and loved to explore all sorts of places. She also had a habit of falling asleep in her food bowl. It was love at first woof!

Little Piper has been the light of my life since day one. We affectionally dubbed at Hyper Piper or Pirana Puppy those first few months we had her. Fortunately we grew out of the chewing stage, but she still has such a zest for life. Sometimes it's a bit much for our visitors. Now she's getting on up there and becoming a little spinster. She doesn't mind though. She's treated to some special things at our house like front seat access on road trips.

Empty ice cream cartons.

(We really don't do that any more--that was a one time treat.)

And of course there are the peanut butter treats...

She hangs on my every word...especially with a treat in hand.

And because I am her puppy sister, she has just as much right to my bed as she does hers. Including the space I'm already occupying.

She's been my buddy though so I'm happy to share. Who could resist such a face anyway?

Happy Birthday, precious Piper! Here's to another six wonderful years ahead of us!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sweet Honey Child

There's a new addition to my family! I welcome to the world the little orange fluff ball, Honey!!

She's the sweetest little girl you've ever seen! Purrs like a little motor boat and loves to snuggle up with her people. Big Sister happened to find Honey at a local Petsmart in McKinney and called Mom about her this past weekend. Three trips to go visit the kitty and we finally broke down. Something about her purring in my arms just made me cave.

We'd been looking at a lot of shelters around town, looking at kittens, holding them, trying to figure out how to add in a kitty to our family. I really wanted to adopt. That was super important to me because there are so many cats in shelters that I would like to help at least one out. My first cat, Esme, was a shelter kitty. Mom rescued her for my 6th birthday and she lived for a quite a long time just as fat and happy as can be.

Honey is actually a foster kitty. Her foster family picked up Honey and brother when they were three weeks old. Since she's been hand raised, bottle fed, etc., Honey is extremely loving, is very docile, and has a sweet disposition. Although, I'm slowly finding she's a feisty little creature, too.

She's learning the lay of the land here at our homestead, but she's not quite on her own yet. Too many places little Honey can hide including under the couch and let me tell you--I ain't no 8 year old who can squeeze behind the couch to catch little kitty. I should preface that she likes to find these hiding places from Piper.

Yes, the light of my life, the giant, loveable fur ball is a little scary to poor Honey. This is about as close as she will get to Piper.

It's a work in progress.

Piper just wants to play and love all over kitty like her own woobies ("woobie" - a pet stuffed animal), but Honey is having none of that! She is happy running from Piper and Piper is happy to follow with a spunky wagging tale.

We've found that Honey loves feather toys, hates the sound of flushing toilets, and really hates when you don't pay attention to her. Recently discovered that she will try to hop in the shower with you to get your attention. Her foster mom gave us this little fluffy bag she sleeps in--we call it her baguette. She curls up in it, pads it with her little paws, and rubs her face all over it. Pretty darn cute if you ask me.

She's a wonderful distraction here at our house and we're having a lot of fun getting to know our new little Honey. Honey Bee. Honey Child. Honey Bun. Are you totally gagging over the nicknames yet? Still have to get her tags for her honeybee collar, a vet visit, and her used to the dog. That one might take a while.

A happy hump day to all! I must go make sure Honey isn't terrorizing poor Piper! Oh dear.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Finding the Ultimate Happy

"Happiness depends upon ourselves." -Aristotle

I don't exactly remember when I ran across this quote, must have been some time at the start of my college career almost six years ago this August. It's a little strange to think I've lived in Oklahoma that long working on school continuously. I'm finding myself get a little more antsy as the weeks drag on and in the same breath I can tell you how much more time I wish I had to finish up what I'm working on now.

Tonight as I escaped down the magazine aisle of Target, this quote came to mind. I should say that when I'm feeling a little blue or out of sorts I tend to wander the aisles of Target in search of nothing really, but the hope to wander into a pleasant distraction. Flipping through the colorful pages of some health magazine I kept skimming across articles about finding your happiness and it struck me as odd.

Today in this day and age with all the available resources and options a person can ever dream of, we are still in search of that ultimate happy. First of all, what is the ultimate happy anyway? I could swear it would be the giant cup of Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch in the frozen food section would be the ultimate happy for the moment, but not for forever. And if we are talking about the forever and ever ultimate happy, how can you even know what that might be? I knew when I was five that my ultimate happy was for me to become the next Dolly Parton. Look at me now--college graduate and dancing fool, totally happy with how things worked out not being the next Dolly Parton. CLEARLY that was not my be all end all happy.

Ultimate happy. Hmmm. That's a big concept and it got my wheels turning. I can't really make myself happy on a carton of ice cream and stomach ache--that only lasts for so long. I can't really make myself happy by throwing money on some impulse purchase. I can't really make myself happy by complaining about the situations and hurdles I have to get over. Well, a good venting session and sob fest does a soul good, however, the pity party train stops there.

Again, the quote pops in my head that happiness depends on ourselves. Or does it?

Here's where I begin to contradict my original thoughts on Aristotle's musing. I fully well believe that if I want to change how I'm feeling, how my life is going, what's happening to make things an unpleasant life for me, I am the only person that can make that change. I am the only person to save myself from the situation I am in if that is what I choose.

HOWEVER, I believe that a good support system must also be in place. There are those special souls that reach out and touch our hearts in a way no other person could. Whether that's a parent, a sibling, a true love, a friend or a pet, it's a special connection that puts that extra bounce in your step and a happy in your heart. To be so incredibly lucky to have those folks in your life is certainly a positive.

Currently I'm not an unhappy person. I have a good life. Great life in fact. Healthy body, good family, great friends, a wonderful love, and all the necessities of life. On a daily basis I constantly remind myself of the good things I have, how lucky I am, and you can bet money I thank my lucky stars for the blessings I've been given. In retrospect, I don't really rely solely on myself for my happiness. In fact, I rely heavily on those blessings on a regular basis.

Happiness is a state of mind--it's a state of being, really. Ol' Honest Abe Lincoln believed "most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Ain't it the truth. I have the option every day to wake up to the world and say, "today's going to be a good one!" Or I have the option to crawl back into bed and hope for better weather, but I'm going to make the conscious choice from now on to make every day a great day.

Mom and I were on Wal-Mary run a few months back and while picking out room fresheners, we caught a whiff of one that was none too pleasant. I died laughing as Mother presently announced, "Ew, not that one! Life's too short to smell crap!" While the pun was perfectly timed, it was what she said that struck a chord. Well, I'm running with that general notion.

I'm going to find my happy every day in something because life is way too short feel like crap. Life is too short to be happy with mediocrity. Life is too short to feel like I have to settle. No, I won't have that! I'm going to follow my bliss and cut out nonsense that creeps into my inner conscience. I want to enjoy my days on this earth and I'm not naive. Some days will be harder than others. I'll have more worries than I really want as I keep getting older and what's a mountain of an issue right now will only be a tiny bump in the road years later. Still in all, that doesn't mean I can't try and enjoy what joys are waiting for me today.

I may not know what the ultimate happy is to my life, but I have a feeling that my life may be the ultimate happy if I make it that way.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Little Love...

...goes a long way. The last few weeks have been, shall we say, a little stressful and continued to rain down more frustrations than I truly wanted to handle. I finally feel as though I've emerged from the little selfish blue cloud I was walking in for what seemed like forever. But thankfully I've had some loving arms there to run into and some eye openers to the bigger picture.

Being home has helped tremendously--I've always thought of this house as being a charging station for my little heart. Even if I'm here for a weekend, I always feel as though I leave twice as strong as I ever was. Maybe that's because of Mom's good cookies or just from lots of hugs and Piper kisses. Either way, it's nice to have someone there when you're feeling a little blue to put a little smile on your face and a happy in your heart.

There's also Pyro Man whose kind enough to listen even when I don't make a lick of sense. For that I thank him and pray he does not light himself on fire like he almost did over the 4th. You'd be a little hard to hold if you're crispy, dear, but don't worry, I'd still love you anyway.

It also helps to have one of my dearest friends so close--I've missed coffee dates with her so much. She has a knack for shedding light on any situation and reminding me to find the silver lining. It's not about finding the ultimate joy of your life but finding the joy in something for everything.

Geez Louise, that's a great reminder. I've been repeating to myself that once I accomplish point A I can move to point B and therefore I will feel so much better by the time I land on C. Incorrect, dear readers. It isn't about working towards your ultimate happy (i.e. a job, a settled life, etc.). It's about finding the joy in the journey.

So stinkin' simple and yet so easily forgettable when you're focused on the gigantic goal ahead. December is so close and yet so far--everything leading up to that month should be nothing but exciting and adventurous. Power of positivity! And yes, it's a Polly Anna point of view, however, I'm all about getting on a happy train here. No one likes a drip. So play with a puppy, hug a tree, eat a whole plate full of homemade cookies--whatever you need to do to find a little joy in your day, I recommend doing it. Sharing a bit of love in your life helps, too. Give back a little a bit, no strings attached. It's a freebie feel good two for one and everyone loves a great bargain.

On a final happy note, some things to look forward to: We move into the Dallas Convention Center for Mary Kay performances this Saturday. Those ladies are the best crowds to perform for! They just hoop and holler and love everything you do, even if it's twirling a ribbon stick! I'm getting my giant thesis notebook ready to go and slowly starting the choreography process. My one and only tap piece is the first one I'm tackling because it will take the most amount of patience and time...Sweet jeebus, help me. Hmm. Guess that list is a little shorter than I planned. Well poop.

It's THURSDAY! Got lots to tackle today so I'd better get my buns in gear. Hope you enjoy this beautiful summer day!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Pains of Packing & Being Pet-less

I hate packing. Absolutely loathe the process mainly because I'm so terribly at it. I stand in front of my closet debating what to take knowing that inevitably I will be in my destination pondering why I didn't take this accessory or that pair of shoes. It's quite a predicament.

And I'm packing for several weeks and several events including clothes for rehearsals, performances, every day wear, and somewhere in there I have to get a nice dress for a wedding...hmmm. Of course there's all my stuff for Thesis junk, too. Wish I had a Mary Poppin's bag that I could cram all my junk into and carry off with me.

See the problem? And it's a little embarrassing to load up my car and cart it all up to my house where Dad will make some comment about me needing to learn how to pack. I'm convinced at that point it's really an incurable disease I'll be forced to deal with for the rest of my life. I can't help it! I just like to be prepared! Is that so awful?!

I'll end this dramatic display before I become hysterical, but don't think for a second that I didn't consider setting my closet a flame. However, that would have meant I lost ALL my clothing and the apartment rendering me homeless...hmm, not such a hot idea (ba dum ching!).

I even listened to some Jack Johnson to mellow out a bit. Should have poured a glass of wine, although that usually makes me a little sleepy and I would have passed out at 8:00 pm on my piles of clothes. Maybe I'll take another crack at it this afternoon.

If only I had a furry friend there to help me with the packing, it would be so much easier! Not really, but I've still got kitty fever like no other. Big Sister had a cute kitten wander into their backyard this weekend. Just look at that face:

Kitty is a boy (I prefer female pets) and I cannot have pets anyhow. But Pyro Man apparently loved the little kitten and has decided to get one for himself. To say I'm only slightly jealous would be a gross understatement. He's lives under a roof with two people, two pups, one kitty and now he's think of taking on another kitten! Currently I'm only visited by friendly spiders (still). Life is not fair.

But I have remind myself that I'm not in the right spot for a pet right now. I'm gone for long stints during the day, right now I'm about to leave for TX, and once the fall rolls around, I'll be gone ALL the time with work on the thesis production. The additional fact of "no pet policy" is last on the list which is ironic because the whole purpose for moving off campus this time last year was to GET a kitty. Live in ghetto apartment with fuzzy friend or live in GORGEOUS historic home that I love to pieces without kitty?

Hmm, the choice was hard--obviously I caved for the comforts and safety of my little slice of heaven. The lonely part of it all is getting little old though. I'm starting to feel like Piper, I need my peoples around me if only to help me kill little eigh legged monsters. And you know, there's some guy in the next building with a DOG! I see him walking it, parading around the neigborhood! SOMEONE NAIL HIS BUTT! If I can't have a cute kitten then he certainly cannot have dog. I'm not vindictive in the slightest...or acting like a five year old at all. Never fear though, I will get my orange kitty.

Oh sweet jeebus. That's it. I'm grabbing my purse and heading for the door--I have to have a furry friend! *SIGH* Until next time, I'll be here, searching for cute kittens online and weeping into my keyboard.

Friday, July 2, 2010

In the Future's Hands

I'm working (still) on finding research for my thesis proposal and as I'm taking in all this information I've had several mind blowing thoughts.

My entire concept for my thesis is built around imagination which is something in and of itself. It has been quite a feat trying to find research on this topic as there really isn't a whole lot out there specifically. Sure I can find LOTS on imagination, just have to be careful what pops up on the the computer screen.

The study of imagination--how do you quantify a subjective topic? Of course there are studies in child development (what percentage believed in Santa at age 3 versus age 9), but I'm looking for more information about imagination in the adult life. Essentially I'm having to piece together articles that cover a broad spectrum of information over imagination and hello, that's the whole point of this thesis, to create a new idea with the information I gather. Or rather, support this crazy idea I have with information I find. It's taking over my life, but I'm finding that the more I read the more ideas and beliefs I'm solidifying along the way.

See, to me imagination is so very key to the quality of life. Without an ounce of fantasy to our lives, I think we lead a boring existence. That creative streak is necessary to our existence to keep our minds active and engaged--I think that everyone needs it (And yes, I know its an arguable debate and yes, I'm opening that door, but hear me out.).

Problem solving requires a bit of imagination. Whether you're trying to solve a math equation or a choreograph Broadway's next biggest hit, you've got to put some brain power in there to come up with something. Think about it for a minute. Any time you stumble across a problem, there has to be a solution and often times that solution isn't given to you. What do you do?

Might mean searching through what you know, brain storming something completely inventive, and putting the two together to come up with your new product, i.e. the equation or a show. Even if you're a farmer, there will be times in which your machine breaks down or the crops aren't coming in--how are you going to fix that? Maybe tried and true ways of problem solving aren't working any more. That's when you have to create something else.

I could go into much more detail with works cited and blah blah blah, but I tell ya what--read my thesis when it's printed in December if you'd like.

I did come across some articles that spoke about adult fairy tales and why they are so necessary in our grown-up lives. One author discussed how you'll never read a fairy tale and appreciate the same way you did the first time. Ain't that the truth. I remember the first time I ever saw a two story house and I was completely blown away by the size and its huge presences in front of my six year old body. I've never had that feeling again. Same with any fairy tale--It's still magical but not quite the same as the first time. The first time for anything is always a memorable experience. The first fireworks show, the first day of school, a first kiss, a first love, a first chik-fil-a can see what I truly value in life.

And as I was thinking about my child self and reading articles on the importance of play, I got to thinking about kids today and their exposure to so many electronic and educational toys. There's such a huge push for kids to be stimulated early on in our technical world and get them that jump start on their education right off the bat. Why not send them outside? Why do children have to have toys that talk to them all the time? Why do kids have to know the alphabet by 3 months? OK, that one was an exaggeration, however, my point is a child's education doesn't just happen in front of a screen or while playing Robby the Robot talking smarty-pants toy.

It seems to be that pushing standardized facts is the way to go in education. There gets a point when facts aren't enough and a child has to start putting together their own problem solving skills. For goodness sakes, what's a better way to do that to let them think and create on their own.

I'm not saying kids need to be running around Wally World like a maniac free spirit you claim them to be. That's a lame excuse for not parenting and I fantasize about running those kids down with my cart on a frequent basis, but that's another topic. All I'm saying is they need that ability to create stories on their own--let them go be pirates in a bath tub in the backyard. What did they do? What did they see? How did they sail away from the British Navy? Let them have at it with play-doh--what can they create with their own hands? What fantastic gizmo did they dream up?

What you're doing by allowing these kids to dream is breeding a generation of dreamers who will solve the our future problems of the world. It's a creative age--look around. What's worked for decades isn't working any more and it's going to take a bolt of creative, imaginative lighting to pull our butts out of this energy crisis and solve the oil spill and fix what a funky economic situation we now live in.

And then when my mind reels through all that I think about the pressure that's on that young generation. Then I think about what my own future children will have waiting for them twenty something years after their birth. Should that be an exciting feeling? What if they're the next Einstein to solve our energy issue? Or should it be something to be concerned with, having all that hope rest on their unborn shoulders? Seems I've worked myself in a tizzy.

I suppose the greatest service I can pay to them is teaching them how to imagine. Give them the opportunity for a healthy and happy childhood where they can be kids who love to dream, learn to built and create without knowing what lies ahead in wait. Perhaps by then they'll be eager to save the world, but I think for now I'd be happy in watching kids explore their own creative mind.

That is, I'm not in a hurry to have kids ANY time soon, especially after writing all this. I'll take a pet first, please--one who doesn't require anything more than lots of love and belly-rubs!
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